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Prime Minister al-Maliki (file photo) (AFP)
July 1, 2007 -- Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki says he is determined to hold provincial elections by the end of this year to delegate more power to the country's communities.
His office quoted him as telling the National Elections Commission that "it does not matter who wins, as long as the victor is a son of Iraq and works in the interest of its people."
Although Iraq held its first full-term parliamentary elections in December 2005, it has never elected leaders to the country's 18 governorates.
In another development, Iraqi police say a suicide car bomber killed five police officers today in Al-Ramadi, a town in the western, Sunni-dominated Al-Anbar Governorate.
Meanwhile, a new report by the Iraqi government indicates the number of civilians killed in violence in Iraq dropped sharply to just under 1,250 civilians during the month of June.
United Nations monitors, who no longer receive official casualty figures, are unable to independently verify the report.
(compiled from agency reports)